New ASTM standard to help drone operators evaluate for operational risk

by Brianna Crandall — January 30, 2017 — A new standardized practice published by global standards organization ASTM International will help drone operators evaluate drones for risks, potentially leading to greater acceptance of their usage among civil aviation authorities. The new standard, F3178, Practice for Operational Risk Assessment (ORA), defines how to prepare Operational Risk Assessments that are necessary for approvals related to airworthiness, design and operations.

ASTM International member Harrison Wolf, president of Wolf UAS, pointed out:

The world approaches drone operations from a risk-based method. This new standard allows people to understand and apply the best practices for identifying hazards, quantifying risk, and mitigating that risk.

Wolf noted that the new standard can help evaluate drones of any size and will be most useful to drone operators who want to use regulated airspace. Specifically, he said, the standard will be used by applicants who are seeking waivers or approvals for higher risk environments than those allowed by current regulations.

The standard is being developed by ASTM International Committee on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (F38). For more information about ASTM International’s growing portfolio of standards development work with drones, visit the ASTM Launching Drones page.

The new F3178, Practice for Operational Risk Assessment (ORA) standard, is available for purchase from the ASTM Standards and Publications Web page. ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards.